While this region largely escaped unscathed compared with further west, where flooding caused a lot of damage, residents of Dairy Flat were awake during the night of August 30 worrying about their animals as trees came down and floodwaters rose.
Concerns about stock included a Green Road resident wading through thigh-high water to rescue horses from flooded paddocks and move them to higher ground.
On one Postman Road property, six cows got out of a field when a fallen tree destroyed fencing. They are yet to be found.
Torrential rain also left Petra Hewitt and her family – as well as neighbours who share the driveway off Pine Valley Road – partially stranded for five days, with walking access only to and from their rural property.
A drain underneath the driveway burst open forming a small river that divided it in two pieces. The hole was 10m long, 8m wide and 3m deep.
The problem was discovered on August 31 when a company delivering gas bottles called to say they couldn’t access the property.
Eventually the essential gas was dropped at the gate. The 80kg bottles then had to be carried across a narrow path and put on a trailer to get them to the house.
Petra says they were lucky they could walk around the culvert, once the water receded, but the families were still essentially confined to the property until a friend lent them a car, parking it on the far side of the hole. This enabled them to get supplies, and also gave comfort to one of the neighbours, who is pregnant.
Because it was classed as an emergency, materials – including a 2m-wide pipe that had to come from east Auckland – could be sourced and a drainlayer was able to begin work on repairs three days later. By the end of Saturday, September 4, it was possible to drive off the property.
“Our first trip was to Fruit World in Silverdale,” Petra says.
She says the family was overwhelmed with kind offers from friends and family and all coped quite well.
“We have lived on the property a long time and 10 years ago there was a bit of flooding but nothing like this,” she says.